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Instant analysis: Marlins 3, Nats 0

Jul 29, 2014, 10:18 PM EDT

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GAME IN A NUTSHELL: On the heels of a gut-punch loss Monday night, the Nationals took the field tonight hoping a big-time performance from Stephen Strasburg would help them put the previous 24 hours well behind them. Strasburg did his part, tossing seven inning of 1-run ball, allowing only Giancarlo Stanton’s RBI double in the sixth. But that still wasn’t enough.

The Nationals were shut out by Henderson Alvarez, managing only three singles and four walks in seven innings against the All-Star right-hander. They had a couple of opportunities against Alvarez and the Marlins bullpen yet simply could not deliver the one clutch hit it would have required to at least tie this game. And when Jerry Blevins and Aaron Barrett combined to give up two huge insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Nats’ chances of a comeback turned bleak.

So now the team that came to town boasting the NL’s best record finds itself having lost two straight, with a chance of falling out of first place if the Braves win in Los Angeles later tonight. At minimum, they’ll need to win Wednesday’s series finale here to avoid a disheartening sweep, a lousy conclusion to their road trip and letting the suddenly resurgent Marlins draw to within 4 games of the division lead.

HITTING LOWLIGHT: The Nationals didn’t have many chances tonight, but they had as good a chance as you can get in the top of the second: bases loaded, nobody out. The only problem: They needed somebody from the lower third of their lineup to deliver a big hit. And with Ryan Zimmerman (hamstring) and Jayson Werth (ankle) out, that left Danny Espinosa hitting seventh and Nate McLouth hitting eighth. That’s not an ideal situation, and sure enough Espinosa struck out, McLouth lined out (with third baseman Casey McGehee making a nice, lunging catch) and Strasburg grounded out to quash what proved to be the Nationals’ best scoring opportunity all night.

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: On a night when the Nationals needed him to be at his best, Strasburg was just that. He overcame a misplay by Bryce Harper in left field in the top of the first, stranding a runner in scoring position. He then settled into a nice groove, putting up five straight zeroes while exhibiting his best fastball command in some time. The only blemish was somewhat excusable, considering Stanton’s longstanding domination of both the Nats and the National League. Even so, it’s hard to take any issue with seven innings of 1-run ball. Strasburg may not have had anything to show for it at night’s end, but he certainly did his job in this game.

KEY STAT: The Nationals are now 2-4 since Ryan Zimmerman was injured in Colorado.

UP NEXT: The series (and the road trip) wraps up with a 12:40 p.m. Wednesday matinee. Tanner Roark will be seeking his team-leading 11th win, facing Marlins lefty Brad Hand.

148 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    Please some stat geek help.

    What is our record with Rendon at second and Zim at third. Then do the same for Rendon at third and Espi at second.

    We can see Zim’s real WAR and Espi’s real WAR.

    they’re are far weaker team with Espi in and not Zim

  2. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:21 PM

    good job Stras, MW is terrible and I saw no heart in the batterbox tonight

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:23 PM

      Not MWs fault. He has NO bench.

      How many games do we have to witness the other team getting pinchhits.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Jerry Blevins should never face a righty….

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:24 PM

        Also, his front of the bullpen is not good.

        I’ve been saying this for months. Some of you think it’s fine. It’s on the GM. Get him real players.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:25 PM

        Then Rizzo is the problem, he gets us crap like mcclouth, Hairston what do we expect.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        He spent money on both of them too. Not his fault that McLouth forgot how to play but Hairston was a joke pickup. All the times I’ve heard from some here how great Hairston hits lefties. BFD.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM

        Hairston is a big club guy… He’s the 25th man, so it doesn’t really matter… He’s not a waste…

        *sigh*

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        LMAO. He’s Matt Stares swinging RH.

      • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        Ghost, it is all on MW for his bull pen moves

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        Nope, you all don’t listen to me. Do you remember my comments about the Dayton Duo in June and Barrett before that.

        Bring up Treinen and replace Blevins.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:36 PM

        Have to have the right personnel. Rizzo swung and miss on everyone but Fister since the Hairston pickup. The bench is awful. Only Dobbs was DFA’d.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:04 PM

        Ghost, cut the crap. Using that secret search tool called Google, I find that on June 28, you said the “Dayton Duo” are the weak links in the bullpen. That’s one month ago. Blevins has been bad. Stammen has not. If there’s another weak link in the bullpen now, it’s Barrett. So you’re one for two there. For now. .500 is a good batting average but it doesn’t make you some all knowing seer.

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but people don’t remember every single thing you say here. You comment dozens of times per day. It would be a full time job to commit to memory every nugget that comes off your keyboard. Some of us have better things to do.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        So June 28th isn’t June? 2’s, you’re angry. Beat up someone else. Later.

    • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

      I thought McClouth and Hairston were both good pickups at the time. McClouth slightly overpaid. Not MWs fault they both have laid an egg this year. Same with Blevins, prior to this year he had a career 3 ERA and even splits.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:46 PM

        McLouth was a good pickup but has never been right. The problem was a 2 year deal. Now you are stuck with him.

  3. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Nice job by Strasburg. Very encouraging.

  4. Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    May need a bat and a reliever.

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      And someone to tell him what do do with them.

  5. BombsOverNatsTown - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Thinking maybe it’s time to start exploring options other than Blevins. Cedeno can’t be worse, can he? And if RZimm is going to be down for a while, may need to pull the trigger on something before Thursday night.

    Starting to feel like it’s getting away from them a bit.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:27 PM

      Correct DFA Blevins bring up Cedano. Trade for Utley or Beltre

      • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

        IMHO, if we trade the prospects it would take to get Utley to the Phillies we will regret it for years to come. Not to mention he’s damaged goods.

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:38 PM

        Bektran is my main one I want

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:07 PM

        Who is Bektran? Oh, Carlos Beltran? Where would you play him?

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Yes my eye was off center. Thought I hit l but hit k.

    • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      Utley isn’t happening.

  6. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    The game was lost when Espi struckout with the bases loaded. I hope Rizzo realizes what he needs to do. Espi can play, but ONLY as a RHB. He needs a platoon partner. Blevins has to go. So does McLouth, but that won’t happen with his deal. Notice that both last night and tonight the Marlins bench was a key to their win. Baker last night, Johnson tonight.

    Strasburg was great. Unfortunate he got the loss. We’ll be fine if Rizzo makes some moves. Otherwise, I’m very concerned about how this team fares without Zim. We’ll see what happens over the next 2 days.

  7. janebeard - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Yep. The Zimm record is telling. Whatever position he plays, he somehow makes everyone better. But we won’t get him back till into September, IF then. Somehow, that we’ve gotten this far without any news of the severity of his injury does not inspire confidence.

    I’m looking for Ian to break out of whatever funk’s got hold of him.

    Im really glad Stras pitched well tonight. SO there’s THAT.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Then get Bektran and move Zim to first as Belt ran signed through 2015

  8. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    Rendon looked tired all night long. He started with hitting in to a double play in the first and ended with a bases loaded strike out. Espy wasn’t the only goat tonight. And don’t get me going about Jerry Blevins. Where are you guys that told me how wrong I was when we traded for him and I said it was the wrong guy?

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:30 PM

      To bad Rendon was tired as his double would have been a homer.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        But tonight when a total of 4 guys were on base he came up empty. It happens.

    • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      I’m still here Joe. :-) Blevins was fine for awhile, but has been bad recently. But it was a move that had to be made given that the lack of LH reliever was a big problem in 2013. But your concern was always giving up Burns. I’m sure you’re thrilled that Burns was called up, but that doesn’t really prove anything yet. I’m sure you’ll let us know every time he gets a hit or steals a base, but I’d give it until the end of the year before you take a victory lap. If he’s a difference maker in Oakland this year, I’ll tip my cap to you, but he probably wouldn’t have even sniffed the majors in a Nats uniform for a few more years.

      • Joe Seamhead - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:07 AM

        Deuces, I seriously doubt that Burns will be up for more than a week, or maybe two. He is a temporary fill in due to injury. Yes, I regretted Rizzo trading Burns, but I understood his way was blocked here, but I never thought much of Blevins, though he was supposed to be a LH version of Stammen.

  9. sunshinebobby - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:23 PM

    I’m afraid the hangover from Monday night’s meltdown is approaching that from Game 5. Come on, Taylor Roark!!!

    • RPrecupjr - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM

      Or even his brother, Tanner, who actually pitches for the Nats ;)

  10. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    No homers in 7 games for us or given up.

    Starters last 5 games 35 IP 5 runs. That is sick offense as we are 2-3 in those games.

    Espi terrible at bat was the turning point. Had he just left the bat on his shoulder he would have walked and left the bases loaded with no outs. But that is not what Espi was interested in.

  11. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Whelp, SS pitched well.. And the offense let him down… Shame to waste his effort… I hope Rizzo is on the phone for BP help and for another bat…

    Bryce had a decent night as well….. Should have taken advantage of Alvarez in the 2nd inning but we let him off the hook…

    And last nights loss still hangs around… As one that got away….

  12. NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I know it’s bad, Mark, but the Nats haven’t lost three straight. They won as recently as Sunday. Remember Doug Fister?

  13. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    I hope Jayson is able to come back soon. Can’t have this type of line up.. And then LaRoche is in a funk, Desi seems to be in a funk….

    Need another bat… And, again as I’ve been saying for weeks, it’s time for Souza Jr to come up… As our bench is a waste and not able to contribute.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      Hairston is a wanted slot, bring Souza. I would bring Moore and send mcclouth packing too.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

        McLouth isn’t leaving. You can keep wishing but that isn’t happening.

      • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM

        I don’t believe that NM is this bad… I really don’t… But Hairston, I think my feelings on him are quiet clear.. As WEEKS ago, I said bring him up… People getting fooled becuz hairstOn had that hot April but didnt register a pinch hit in over 2 months…

        He can’t play If, he can’t play OF, he can’t hit righties, he can’t hit lefties… He is useless….

        At least Nm can play all the Of positions.

  14. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:31 PM

    Nats are going to get swept, so remember this series as the one that set the tone for the 2014 collapse.

    • David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      Your predictions are repeatedly wrong, so I for one am thankful you’ve made this prediction.

      • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        I have been correct on a few and this will be one of them

        If I recall correctly, you were in 2013 telling us Nats will be fine and will win the East

        how ddi that work out??

      • David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:44 PM

        And I remember you predicting in 2012 that the loss to the Braves would be the end of the season. How’d that work out? I was closer than you were. We got hot and nearly snuck into a WC. It was just too late.

      • Smyrcok - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:03 PM

        Sounds like mick would rather be right and have the Nats be bad than be wrong and have them do something like win the division.

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:32 PM

      Come on. Cut the crap.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

      We gpwill win tomorrow.

      It is OK to be negative about something in the past, but why be negative about the future.

  15. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    For perspective… This was the first series loss since like mid June… Nats were in a torrent pace of winning series… Sucks, that we couldn’t take advantage of the fish but if we win tomorrow, we are 500 on the road…

    Rizzo needs to make some call. Nats get to come home, then refocus, regroup and get the ball rolling again….

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:48 PM

      The real problem is when one cog is missing from our line up we simply play much poorer.

      We are missing a cog for another month, that is not good. The cog must be filled.

  16. micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    we may be toast, I feel it, I bet the players have no faith in MW as well

    • adcwonk - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:28 PM

      Sigh . . . . a team is never as good as they look during a winning streak, and never as bad as they seem during a losing streak.

      We may be toast? Really? With the team we have and that we’re in first place (or, at most, 1/2 game out by tomorrow)?

      Then Rizzo is the problem…

      Yep — big problem. Turned a consecutive 100+ loss team into perennial contenders for three years now, and for the foreseeable future. He must really stink.

  17. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Ask him about espi’s k. They avoid espi question like the pkague

    • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM

      What do you ask? Typical Danny. Seen it 100’s of times.

      • Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:43 PM

        You have to give him a TAKE sign to protect Danny from himself.

      • Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        Mark asked a good a question as any — is it especially bad with the bases loaded to not make contact at all? MW: It happens. We didn’t get it done.

        Whatever. Post game pressers are not the place for the kind of questions asked here. Like, “why the hell do you continually run Espi up there against righties when the only way he can get on base is to throw himself in front of a pitch?”

        Hey, now that I think of it, if he could have done that, we would have scored a run in the 2nd inning. Maybe next time.

  18. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Matt should have gotten tossed on the Nate play.

  19. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Don’t let him wiggle out of questions

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      our press corps is a bunch of cowards

      • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM

        Exactly how awesome was it, Matt?

        Not the sharpest tools in the shed.

  20. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    If Matt thinks as clearly as he speaks it’s no wonder we’re in trouble.

  21. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    It appears Jon Lester is close to being traded.

  22. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    The question is simple is Zack Walters is playing second tomorrow?

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      I’d say yes for the simple reason that it’s day game after a night game so that gives Matt a “by the book” reason to do it.

    • micksback1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:39 PM

      got a better question fr MW
      why bring him up and after he went 1 for 3 driving in 2 runs, he has not played again, why????

      TERRIBLE manager

  23. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:39 PM

    I see the Dodgers are losing

    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Not any more.

  24. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:40 PM

    Look, we were going to lose a series sometime. You don’t go through a season without ups and downs. This Marlins team won 3/4 from the Braves, too. We’ll be okay, as long as Rizzo is honest with himself and makes the necessary adjustments. Like I’ve said, no big names needed. Just solid moves.

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      My only negative thought is Rizzo won’t do any real move

      • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        Is be shocked. He will at least do something. Maybe not major, but something.

  25. Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Salvaging a game tomorrow would be very nice. Have to score some damn runs.

  26. Joe Seamhead - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Well earlier in the month Strasburg was the whipping boy. Then last week it was Harper. Now it’s Matt Williams. I can’t imagine the vile that will come if the Nats lose tomorrow.

    NatsJack warned us in a March about the Marlins. Sometimes that guy makes a lucky guess.

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:52 PM

      Imagine next year when they have Fernandez back and the Mets have Harvey. Although we all know that recovery from TJ is a process for any pitcher.

  27. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Unleash Cutter Dykstra !!!!

  28. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Dodgers are MLB, FYI…. Just made a big announcement that a in Scully is coming back next season for them.

  29. NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    So, are we done with the “Strasburg-can’t-pitch-in-Marlins-Park” meme?

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Does 1 good game negate his history there… No, it doesn’t… He had a good game and you hope he continues on it…

      • breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        Flash to NatsLady: Was Strasburg the winning pitcher tonight?

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:23 PM

        Would TWO good games be enough? 7/15/2012 – 6 IP 0 ER 7K plus tonight. He’s only pitched there six times. He must miss the Marlins’ old stadium, he never gave up a single ER run there… in two games. In CBP (Philly) he’s started four games, ERA 1.23– four no-decisions.

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        Flash. Was Gio the winning pitcher on Saturday?

  30. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    Vin Scull back for a 66th season

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      It’ll be “Weekend With Vinny” one of these days.

  31. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Matt Kemp 2 run homer.

  32. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    2-1 dodgers…. Kemp with a 2 hr blast….

  33. Ghost of Steve M. - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    Kemp 2 run HR

    • Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:59 PM

      Did you see how we went down and got that ball… Like no effort, at all…. lol, I thought that he just fouled it off…

      A girl can dream, that he will be a Nat before Thursday… *snickers*

      • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        When espi swings at that pitch he swings 6 inches above it.

      • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:05 PM

        Kemp is on the decline and be has a terrible contract.

      • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        Kemp is on the decline and be has a terrible contract.

        What a great influence he’d be on Bryce, though!

  34. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    Thank you Matt Kemp

  35. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    I think it’s worth remembering that Strasburg is coming back from the same kind of elbow surgery that, this time last year, was earning Drew Storen a vacation in Syracuse. I take great encouragement from that part of tonight’s game, as well as substantial parts of his previous couple of starts. I’m just about ready to predict a breakthrough season in 2015.

    • Psd fx - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      I’m a Nats fan to the core. Have been since day 1. That said, our expectations for SS have just been too high. He may still turn out to be a superstar (I’d settle for all-star), but right now he is absolutely our 4th or 5th best starter, with Gio. True, he was better tonight, but if we score 1 he seems to give up 2. If we score 3 he seems to give up 4. And tonight, we don’t score and of course he gives up a run. Gotta blame (obviously) run support tonight, but still, I’m looking forward to the day when he will at SOME point, stand up and say “get on my back — I’ll shut them down” and actually get a win. I was at the soccer game in DC tonight, and when I saw we lost 3-0, I immediately thought “I bet SS pitched.” And I was right. Sigh.

  36. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:04 PM

    Stammen had bad outings on 7/7 and 7/11. Another against the Cubs 6/26. But I don’t understand how he became a pariah all of a sudden. When his slider is happening, he’s money.

  37. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    We’ll always have Greg Dobbs.

  38. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Word Press out of order again? When will someone fix this?

    The Sox scratched Lester for tomorrow. He better not end up in Atlanta or any other NL team.

  39. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    After last night’s debacle. I said the Nats would suffer a hangover from that devastating loss.

    I was rebuked by Nats Lady and many others, who assured me that “a loss is a loss” and losing to Cueto 1-0 was no different than a back-breaking, crushing lost like last night.

    I was prepared to apologize to Nats Nation. I have asked for comment from Nats Lady on Mark’s in-game thread, but she has dodged me.

    Now we’re in the post-game summary. NatsLady–who was right, you or me? (Hint: we didn’t score in this baseball game.)

    • manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:13 PM

      Each game is independent. We lost both games, because we could not make the plays.

      • breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM

        Thanks MNF. An 0-20 team that has lost twenty in a row has the EXACT same chance of winning the 21st game as a 20-0 team that has won twenty straight.

        The outcome of EVERY game is random. There is no momentum in sports or elsewhere in life. Just ask the Marlins.

        You have taught all of us so much.

        Truly, as Confucius said, when the student is ready the teacher appears.

        And you are the teacher.

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      I’d say that without Werth and Zimmerman in the lineup the psychological effects aren’t yet conclusively proven.

      • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Anyone who’s seen a baseball season before this one (which apparently some people have not), knows that a team that loses 20 in a row is much more likely to lose 100 games than a team that wins 20 in a row, for the very simple reason that the 20-loss team probably doesn’t have the talent or the health that the 20 win team does. It’s not a coin-flip, never was, because teams aren’t equal.

        The 20-loss team may not lose the very next game, even the Astros can beat the A’s–wait, no, they can’t. The Astros just lost four in a row to Atlanta and they are a miserable team and they hate their GM who treats them like trash, and they hate their top prospect for getting promoted ahead of other kids who deserve it more, and their morale is terrible, they couldn’t POSSIBLY beat the best team in MLB. But they did. It happened yesterday, I saw the score with my very own eyes. But they won’t do so very often (they didn’t tonight) because the Astros don’t have the talent that the A’s possess.

        The Nats will lose a game. They may even lose four games in a row (in fact, they HAVE lost four games in a row). They will get swept (they HAVE gotten swept, the will lose blowouts (in fact, they HAVE lost blowouts, they’ve lost THIRTEEN blowouts, and they will lose extra-inning heartbreakers (LOTS OF THOSE). But what counts is not where they stand on July 30. What counts is where they stand on September 30.

        In the end, if they are talented, healthy and lucky, if they keep their cool through blowouts and rainouts, they’ll win. And they know it. They know they’re not the Astros and they hope they’re not the Rangers.

    • NatsLady - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM

      Oh, I was right. No doubt about it. The Nats didn’t score a single run in seven games before this one. And somehow, the Nats managed to get to first place. The Nats didn’t score a single run in the game after they blew a NINE-run lead to the Braves (they were shut out the very next day, 4-0) and yet they somehow managed to win 98 games and the NL East. So, yeah, I’m right.

    • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:42 AM

      I didn’t dodge you. I was working. I work evenings and can rarely post in game threads (even if I wanted to, which I don’t). Just about everyone here knows that I work evenings and Saturdays, but, sure, assume I’m a coward or unwilling to defend my arguments. I posted plenty when I got home.

  40. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Boo Freeman

  41. manassasnatsfan - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:12 PM

    Becket gives those 2 runs right back. Plus he had RBI chance and failed

  42. Mrsb loves the Nats - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:13 PM

    Frackin Freddie Freeman….

  43. Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    No one “rebuked” you breakbad. People disagreed with you. That’s what happens on this blog. I’m a little tired of people who think they’ve been blasted, rebuked, or ridiculed just because their comments weren’t universally endorsed and lauded. Grow up.

    Certainly Strasburg wasn’t hungover. How is that possible under your theory? If all you meant was that the Nats would lose tonight, you had about a 50-50 chance on that one. I’m sure you know that it’s impossible to prove that the disappointment of last night’s loss had anything to do with tonight’s performance.

  44. Section 222 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:19 PM

    And by the way, your insistence on calling out NatsLady is juvenile. She’s the one who put up a poll on this question on her blog to see what people thought. Enjoy your victory lap if you like, but I don’t blame her for not answering your silly taunts.

  45. David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Beckett is awful

    • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      Awful? Awful? Not so awful he couldn’t throw a no-hitter. I wonder how come the momentum from that didn’t carry over to this game?

      Josh Beckett transformed himself from power pitcher to deceptive hurler after a winless, injury-plagued season ended with surgery…He still dominates, but in a different way…Beckett pitched the first no-hitter of his stellar career and the first in the majors this season, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 Sunday…..Now he’s healthy and pitching like a guy with three All-Star games, two World Series rings and a World Series MVP award on his resume….

      Enjoy.

      I mean, this is a guy who can’t lose, right? No need for the Dodgers to be looking about for another starter…

  46. Nats fool - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Rizzo over values prospects. Half the time they fail. We need to go all in. We have a very brief window and we can’t wait for Zimm. It should be Beltre or Prado. Anybody not named Giolito on our farm should be fair game. He won’t do it, though. We will possibly sneak in to the playoffs this year, but if we rely on washed up journeymen and AAA call-ups, we will be looking at third place next year.

    • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:30 PM

      Every GM overvalues their prospects. I would add Cole to the untouchable list. I would be willing to deal any position player in our farm. They are all blocked for the near future. Any future holes could be replaced in FA.

    • David Proctor - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      We only have a very small window if you sell the farm like you suggest.

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      Overvaluing prospects isn’t usually as costly as overvaluing high dollar, high mileage veterans.

      • Danny - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:40 PM

        Agreed stoatva. Would you both not agree though that with Zim out and the bullpen coming back to earth and upgrade however major should be made? Espy should never start against RHP.

      • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:02 AM

        Amen

    • adcwonk - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      We need to go all in….Anybody not named Giolito…

      Well, then: that’s not “all in”, is it?

      • Nats fool - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        I guess not. Let’s say 90 percent. The Marlins actually have a deeper pool of young talent than we do. We will need to restock in a couple of years. Before then we need to make our best run at the pennant. We need more lineup depth and a few bp arms. Let’s do what we should have done in 2012 and try to win now. We can’t assume next year will be better.

      • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:31 AM

        “should have done in 2012″ ? Like what? Not set Strasburg down? Surely we’re not re-hashing that decision, are we?

  47. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:30 PM

    We disagreed strongly last night. I was ready to write on this board, “Well, folks, I thought there would be a hangover but I was wrong. Credit to NatsLady; she was right. I tip my cap to her.”

    And I believed the outcome of tonight’s game was not 50/50, but 90/10.

    People make predictions on sports blogs. I did so. NatsLady did so. It is fair to ask her to acknowledge she had no idea what she was talking about. Isn’t it?

    The listless performance of the Nationals tonight was absolutely a by-product of their bone-crushing loss last night, just as I said it would be.

    Who on this board–anchoring your judgment based on your lifelong observations of human nature–would not think that one team’s comeback would inspire even greater efforts the next game, just as one team’s collapse would not affect their performance the next night?

    • adcwonk - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:47 PM

      The listless performance of the Nationals tonight was absolutely a by-product of their bone-crushing loss last night, just as I said it would be.

      Oh, please. How in the world can you know that? Losing last night was nothing like losing game 5. Those kinds of losses happen around MLB with frequency, and not all teams are listless the next day. Do you remember a game where the Padres tied it in the bottom of the 9th, then won it in the 11th? That was a very late Sat night game. The Sunday day game that followed, the Nats, tired, and with some second string guys, beat the Pads 6-0.

      How do you know that the performance wasn’t due to an all-star pitcher having good stuff? Espi’s K in the 2d wasn’t listless, it was (unfortunately) normal. McLouth followed with something that was inches away from scoring two or three.

      Someone here (I can’t remember who) said the same thing about Soriano. After he blew a save which stopped his record of something like 25 straight scoreless appearances, someone pontificated that Soriano would be unsure of himself, come back to earth, and was certain that a few more bad performances would come from him until he got it together. That didn’t happen — instead it was followed by another 9 straight scoreless appearances.

      As 222 wrote: go out on a limb a predict any loss or win — you’ll be fairly close to right 50% of the time.

      • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:00 AM

        It’s a pattern that’s concerning. Giving up leads, not hitting bad (or good) pitching, not taking advantage of 2-3 on and no outs., starters getting blown up in a few innings when they are an alleged ace. Surely u see these facts are concerning at the least.

      • adcwonk - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:30 AM

        I’m not sure I agree — but even if I did agree with your assessment: a “pattern” is completely different from a “listless performance” due to a blown 9th inning lead the day before. And that is my point.

    • adcwonk - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      And I believed the outcome of tonight’s game was not 50/50, but 90/10

      Oh — and I meant to add: If you give 9-to-1 against the Nats for any game this year, please, please, let me know. I want to take that bet.

    • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:15 AM

      I didn’t bet on this game. I never bet. I didn’t even vote in my own poll. What are you talking about? I didn’t predict a win. In fact, I said whether the Nats win depends on how well Stras pitches, whether Werth can play, how well their guy pitches, whether Giancarlo hits, etc. etc., but unless the Nats all went out drinking to drown their sorrows last night and are playing with a hangovers, the result of Monday night’s game isn’t predictive of Tuesday night’s game.

      That’s not predicting a win.That’s not even giving odds on a win, although I’d give odds that Vegas had the Nats a slight favorite.

  48. adcwonk - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:33 PM

    I was as mad at Espi’s K as anyone else. (And them more so after seeing pitch-track, and seeing that every pitch he swung out was a ball, and the one pitch he took was a strike).

    But why was that the “turning point” of the game, rather than McLouth’s line-out that followed (and that web-gem of a catch)? Had that gotten by 3b, that scores two or three runs, and Clip is the closer.

    • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:29 AM

      It wasn’t. That was FP nonsense. Everyone has a narrative. Every loss has to be explained and blame has to be apportioned. How about Desi groudning out in the sixth? That doesn’t count?

      By WPA, the worst offensive play in the game was Harper flying out in the 8th inning. But Harper looked better and had two hits, so we can’t blame HIM. (McLouth’s lineout was only the second-worst play). Danny’s strike out was only the 5th worst play.

      McLouth (-19.9%) and LaRoche (-15.5%) where the two who contributed most to the loss on the offensive side. Obviously McLouth was devastated by yesterday’s loss because the talent he’s had all season just disappeared because of the change in momentum. Same for LaRoche, whose been slumping for several weeks–yesterday’s loss just pushed him right over the edge.

      • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:39 AM

        Sorry. …. LaRoche *who’s* been slumping.

        If there was a “listless” player, it was obviously THIS GUY.

    • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:56 AM

      What?? Come on wonk. U don’t believe that.

  49. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    In CBP (Philly) he’s started four games, ERA 1.23– four no-decisions.

    That’s astonishing.

  50. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:48 PM

    Stoat/222/NatLady–man you talk about crickets. Did you see my question about the obvious impact of game-to-game influence of momentum in sports–and in life?

    Question was posted at 1130pm–15 minutes ago.

    Crickets?

    NatsLady last night I said Boswell and others (small people to you–just MLB scouts across the league) said the Nats had no killer instinct. You said, with about 50 exclamation marks, that my comment was bullcrap.

    Do you want to cite evidence of the Nats’ killer instinct in tonight’s game?

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      Crickets is what this silliness deserves.

      • NatsLady - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:30 AM

        Well, I certainly saw evidence that McLouth was about to kill that ump. Even if he was the worst player in the game I’m glad he thought better of it.

  51. stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:50 PM

    I’m ready for Harper to bat third.

    • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:53 AM

      R u nuts? One decent game?

      Ok, why not.

  52. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Great counterpoint, stoat; your Ph.D. in Writing and Rhetoric from UVA is really showing tonight.

    “Crickets is what this silliness deserves.”
    Aristotle

    • stoatva - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:54 PM

      I am trying to be mindful of the old proverb that one ought never to quarrel with a jackass in the public square, lest passersby mistake which is the jackass.

  53. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    adcwonk–good points, thank you.

  54. breakbad1 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    stoat–excellent–always quote a proverb when you have no counterargument. Also–fine point–an anonymous blog is not the public square.

    • stoatva - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      You want to pick a fight with someone and I’m not volunteering. Let’s say you’re right and let it go. Although I do wish you had mentioned those 9-1 odds last night.

  55. breakbad1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:11 AM

    Fair enough.

  56. scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    Wow. What a fanboy bog. No one else thinks like this crew. Not radio hosts, not other blogs, not other sites. Get real people. Ask yourself:

    -Do you trust out Risp hitting in games that matter? (Spare me your stat boy stuff)
    -Do you trust our bull pen outside of stoen and clip?
    -do u trust Sori with a one run lead and the heart of a good lineup?
    – do u trust MW to make intelligent decisions?
    – do u realize espi should have 5 errors in last 6 games if not for some luck?

    We at deeply flawed. Stop living on 2012 , a year when we yet again folded a game that we should have won easily to advance.

    We need: 2b that can hit, a power hitter, a bench, a clutch batter and a paci for Bryce.

    That said I trust rizzo. He knows what’s up. But I’d rather see every young guy come up with a real opportunity then trade the farm. Zack hasn’t had a chance, tymo was a pinch guy who hit 300 as a starter. We have pitchers out the wazoo. M Taylor can hit and field. None of the trade bait mentioned is a sure thing…go young and let them play. If it doesn’t work figure it out next year, but let’s not go rental…we are not good enough

    • scmargenau - Jul 30, 2014 at 1:03 AM

      *blog plus a zillion other typos. Plz excuse as I peck away on my mobile.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 +0.5
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

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